- A R Rahman is currently in New York for the IIFA Awards
- On July 8, Rahman played a concert at Wembley in London
- Several concert-goers complained about the Tamil numbers that were sung
Speaking to NDTV in New York, A R Rahman said, "We try our best. We try to be honest. I love the way how people have supported for all these years without them I'm nothing. I'm grateful to all of them."
This past week, Twitter has been sharply divided between London concert-goers claiming Rahman had been 'disrespectful' to his fans by performing Tamil songs and those who schooled them with reminders that Rahman is Tamil himself and has composed most of his work, including his early hits, in his mother tongue.
Was total disaster,for someone who made his name in Bollywood(at least on sheer numbers) it was disrespectful from him,even speaking Tamil— Apoorva Dixit (@apoorva_dixit) July 9, 2017
Was so disappointed and left half way through. The promoter #HumsiniEntertainment should of said 99% songs will be Tamil. I wouldnt of come— Rita Mistry (@RitaMistry) July 8, 2017
But when such idiocy and ignorance is displayed especially when they think he owes them a refund. My God. New low level.— Steph 16-1 (@brahahamin) July 12, 2017
The controversy also served to rekindle the debate over Hindi privilege vs other regional languages. Singer Chinmayi, who has performed several Rahman songs in films, posted this impassioned note:
When Rahman sir wins 2 Oscars and creates history, he is "An Indian", but 7-8 Tamil gaane kya gaa liye aap naraaz hote ho. What yaar?— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) July 14, 2017
The show was called 'Netru Indru Naalai', had 65% Hindi songs (Set List is out there). Music knows no boundaries / language.— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) July 14, 2017
And finally, pic.twitter.com/pLUL7w2Hmg— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) July 14, 2017
New York, unlike London, was perfectly happy to hear A R Rahman sing in Tamil. IIFA Rocks, the musical night included in the awards weekend, was dedicated to the composer's 25 years in the industry and, as Rahman sang Urvasi Urvasi in its original Tamil, the crowd cheered wildly. "We came for Rahman. Music is universal, the language doesn't matter," a couple in the audience told news agency IANS.
(With IANS inputs)